Are you prepared for outdoor adventure in Squamish ?
Consider this possible scenario as you enjoy the outdoors in the community: I’m in the middle of the forest and on the wrong path. My phone just told me that I only have 10% battery remaining, and I’m outside of cell service. I know I’m not going in the right direction, but my trail app isn’t loading. Luckily for me, I know these trails and how to orient myself. Immediately, I run through my mental checklist:
✓ It’s the middle of the day, and I have plenty of time to go back
✓ The weather is warm and dry
✓ I told my reliable child were I was going and how long this is supposed to take me
✓ My car in the parking lot will tell the Search and Rescue Team where to start their search
✓ I have an emergency blanket in my pocket
✓ My dogs are with me, and they can help me stay warm
✓ My dogs have a whistle on their leash and I am able to help searchers find me with whistle blasts
✓ I have an emergency supply of gummy bears.
Getting lost, injured or stuck can happen quickly and to all of us! Sticking to the simple rule of the 3T’s (Trip plan, Training, The Essentials) will help us to avoid or deal with an unexpected situation.
Plan your trip:
Tell a reliable friend or family member about your plan and stick to it. Short or long, and whether you’re running, hiking, biking or climbing, someone should always know where you are and what your trip entails. Prepare yourself as well and do your homework. Check weather forecast, elevation gain and difficulty level, as well as avalanche conditions in the winter. It is always a good idea to speak to a local resource and get the inside scoop on trail/routes and wildlife encounters.
Practice your skills on a regular basis. This includes reviewing navigational skills, first aid and fire making during all conditions. Know your limits on trails in terms of difficulty level and distance. Avalanche training can save your life, so make sure you know how to use beacons if your activity takes place off the beaten path.
Carrying the essentials will allow you to stay somewhat comfortable until Search and Rescue team members will reach you. Staying warm, hydrated, dry and fed are important parts of your survival outdoors. Another way you can help searchers find you is by blowing your whistle in sets of threes, or shining your flashlight. Many light weight options makes bringing the essentials an easy task.
Lost, stuck or injured in the outdoors? Call 911 for your local Search & Rescue volunteer team. Stay put, keep warm and dry until we get to you.
I turn around and follow the trail back to where I came from. Soon enough, I make it to the intersection where I missed my trail. Thanks to my preparation and experience, I can now safely return to my car.
List of essentials (https://www.adventuresmart.ca/the-three-ts/#takingtheessentials):
Emergency blanket, communication device/emergency beacon, whistle/signaling mirror, food & water, headlamp, extra layers, knife, fire starter, first aid, map & compass, sun protection/bug spray, + personal medication/epi-pen, spare pair of glasses (if you can’t see without). Snow/winter add-on: shovel, probe, transceiver.
Christine Strub is the prevention team coordinator with the Squamish Search and Rescue.